[-empyre-] Welcome to OCTOBER on -empyre- and Margaret Rhee

Margaret Rhee mrheeloy at gmail.com
Wed Oct 2 04:28:06 AEST 2019

Dear everyone,

Thank you Renate for your incredible curation and mentorship with
--empyre--, it's such an inspiring community of thinkers, artists, and
activists. I loved the discussion on Trans last month, and hope to continue
these threads. For this month I'm pleased to share a forum "On Practice and
Play: Gestures Across Genres." The forum was inspired in part by Tony
Conrad's work and practice which spans across film, music, writing, and
theory. For this forum, we're honored to have artists, thinkers, and
creators who play across media and disciplinary divides and  to celebrate
innovation in cross-disciplinary art practices. For the first week, we
begin with a focus on Tony Conrad's work on art/collaboration/and play and
we're honored to have artists Paige Sarlin, David Grubbs, and Kathleen
McDermott join us for the discussion. Please see below for their
biographies and we look forward to hearing more about their work and
insights on collaboration/play/art in Tony's collaborations, their own
practices. As always we welcome --empyre--members to contribute and join
the conversation.

my best,



*On Practice and Play: Gestures Across Genres *

In this month's -empyre- forum, we take up the question of productivity and
and the politics of play, and how playing across genres, mediums, forms,
disciplines, and departments, etc. makes for new kinds of innovative art,
thinking, and community; and in doing so, better intervenes and gestures
toward transformative futures. The current conspiracy-us versus them-
culture perhaps exemplifies the problem of singular thinking and the need
for creative, eclectic, and innovative practices more than ever. We’re
interested in artists, thinkers, and activists with practices that cross
over boundaries and intervene in dichotomous logics. With attention to
justice, we explore how multiple forms of art practices prompt us to
reimagine different kind of worlds, as strategy and survival. Initially
inspired by Tony Conrad's work, as his practice spans across film, music,
writing, and sculptures, we playfully ask how play lends itself to more
libratory ways of creation and practice.

We begin with the first week on media and new media art in
conversation with Tony Conrad's playful work across mediums, we then move
into a second week asking questions on poetry and playing across the
visual, cinematic, and theoretical, the third week is dedicated to the
theme of ethnography across forms such as photography, film, and poetry,
and the forth week focuses on the ways artists advocate for decolonial and
racial resistance through playing across genres and forms. While seemingly
diverse, we hope the loosely organized topics lends itself to connections
between the weeks, and across themes presented. With attention to questions
such as capital, creativity, institutional critique, and justice, we’re
honored to have the following artists and thinkers join us for this
conversation and reflect on the possibilities of practice, gestures, and

We also invite our -empyre- subscribers, whose own work broadly resonates
with the themes of practice and play, to join the conversation. What are
the ways your practice has played or plays across genres? Have you faced
institutional challenges in crossing disciplinary divides, and if so, how
did you overcome them? Is play and practice productive and/or political? We
welcome our guests and all -empyre- subscribers to actively participate and
post this month and share your practices and experiences of playing
across genres and any questions that arise. Thank you again to our featured
guests, and we're honored for their participation. We look forward to
the conversation.

*On Practice and Play: Gestures Across Genres *

*Week One: Art/Collaboration and Play *
*Honoring the play of Tony Conrad *
(October 1)

*Paige Sarlin *
Paige Sarlin is an artist, scholar, and political activist. She holds a
Ph.D. in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University and an M.F.A. in
Film/Video/New Media from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Her first feature-length documentary film, *The Last Slide Projector*,
premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2007.
"Illuminating Obsolescence: Eastman Kodak's Carousel Slide Projector and
the Work of Ending," her corresponding essay, was recently published in *The
Routledge** Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescenc*e (2019). From
1999 to 2010, she was an active participant in the 16Beaver Group in New
York City, a platform for the discussion of the intersection of art and
politics. Her writings have been published in *October, Re-Thinking
Marxism, **Discourse**, **Camera Obscura, **The Journal of Aesthetics and
Protest, *and* Framework: A Journal of Film and Culture*.  She is in the
process of finishing her book-length manuscript entitled *Interview* *Work:
The Genealogy of a **Documentary** Form*.  She is Assistant Professor in
the Department of Media Study at University at Buffalo, SUNY.
Married to Tony Conrad at the time of his death, Paige was involved in the
conceptualization and realization of the recent exhibition *Introducing
Tony Conrad: A Retrospective*. Her essay "In Person, On Screen, In Context,
On Tape," appears in the catalogue
<https://www.artbook.com/9783960983361.html>. Tony and Paige's
collaborative composition "Tony Conrad's Amplified Drone Strings" premiered
at the Big Ears festival in 2016. Since then she has performed the piece
with David Grubbs, MV Carbon, Jennifer Walshe, and others at the Tate
Modern in London, The National Gallery in Washington DC, and the Clemente
Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center in New York. Her next book
project is a collection of essays about Tony Conrad; entitled *You Know Who
You Are*, the book is structured around an investigation of "the
acknowledgement" as an aesthetic form.

*David Grubbs *

David Grubbs is Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and The Graduate
Center, CUNY.  At Brooklyn College he also teaches in the MFA programs in
Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) and Creative Writing.  He is
the author of *Now that the audience is assembled* and *Records Ruin the
Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording* (both Duke
University Press) and, with Anthony McCall, *Simultaneous Soloists* (Pioneer
Works Press).  In the spring of 2020, Duke University Press will publish *The
Voice in the Headphones*, Grubbs’s second experiment in music writing in
the form of a book-length poem.

Grubbs has released fourteen solo albums and appeared on more than 190
releases; his most recent solo recording is *Creep Mission*(Blue
Chopsticks, 2017).  In 2000, his *The Spectrum Between*(Drag City) was
named “Album of the Year” in the London *Sunday Times*.  He is known for
his ongoing cross-disciplinary collaborations with poet Susan Howe and
visual artists Anthony McCall and Angela Bulloch, and his work has been
presented at, among other venues, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA,
the Tate Modern, and the Centre Pompidou.  Grubbs was a member of the
groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and has performed with
Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, the Red Krayola, Will Oldham, Loren Connors,
and many others.  He is a grant recipient from the Foundation for
Contemporary Arts, a contributing editor in music for *BOMB**Magazine*, a
member of the Blank Forms board of directors, and director of the Blue
Chopsticks record label.

*Kathleen McDermott *

McDermott’s work utilizes a combination of sculpture, open-source
electronics, performance and video, to explore the social ramifications of
the relationship between bodies and technology; an artistic research method
she refers to as *absurdist electronics*. Absurdist electronics promotes
the use of absurdity as a counter to both the solutionist utopia promised
by tech companies, and the atmosphere of doom often prophesied within
science fiction. Drawing on the Dada principle that absurdity can be an
appropriate response to feelings of alienation, McDermott seeks to solve
her own specific struggles with socialization and work, through humor and

In contrast to narratives of the future that are disproportionately focused
on virtual bodies and bodies represented by data, McDermott’s inventions
emphasize real-time physicality by deliberately intervening in physical
space, to a ridiculous degree. She often creates electronics which can
respond to sensors and environmental input, but that cannot be controlled
by the wearer directly, complicating the agency of the human actors in the
scene. Examples include a dress which creates a cloud of fog based on a
reading of the wearer’s stress level, and a mechanical brooch that opens to
reveal a cinnamon bun when the wearer begins to sweat. The items are worn
publicly, either by McDermott or a proxy, and the documentation is edited
into narrative videos and GIFs, taking cues from infomercials and
advertisements. She then produces tutorials for technically recreating the
works in the series, which she distributes online and through workshops.


*Week Two: Poetics and Play *
(October 8)

Truong Tran
Lynne Sachs
Kenji Liu

*Week Three: Queer Ethnography/Methods and Play *
(October 15)

Kale B. Fajardo
Erica Rand
Jerry Zee

*Week Four: Racial and Decolonial Practice and Play *
(October 22)

Craig Santos Perez
Maria de Los Angeles
Gabriela Cordoba Vivas

On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 10:51 PM Renate Ferro <rferro at cornell.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Dear -empyre-
> Welcome to October already.  The leaves are falling here in Ithaca and the
> furnace is on.  I am feeling the impending darkness of autumn creeping into
> my afternoon activities.  I can only imagine the light where so many of you
> are.
> We welcome a month of discussion on Practice and Play: Gestures Across
> Genres organized by Margaret Rhee to celebrate innovation in
> cross-disciplinary art making.  Many of you will remember Margaret's
> discussion on Robot Poetics in May of 2017
> http://lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/2017-May/009683.html
> Margaret is an incredible poet, writer and artist.  We are so lucky to
> have her on our -empyre- Editorial Advisory Board.  She brings warmth to us
> from Buffalo, New York this month with her diverse set of guests.
> Her biography is below.  Margaret will post the first post of the month
> tomorrow.
> Welcome Margaret and thank you. We look forward.
> Renate
> Margaret Rhee is a poet, scholar, and new media artist. She is the author
> of Love, Robot, named a 2017 Best Book of Poetry by Entropy Magazine and
> awarded a 2018 Elgin Award by the Science Fiction Poetry Association and
> the 2019 Best Book Award in Poetry by the Asian American Studies
> Association. Her poetry chapbooks include Yellow and Radio Heart; or, How
> Robots Fall Out of Love, and forthcoming collection Poetry Machines: A
> Letter to a Future Reader, a collection of lyrical essays on poetry, and
> the intersections of cinema, art, and new media. Currently, she is
> completing her monograph How We Became Human: Race, Robots, and the Asian
> American Body. She was a College Fellow in Digital Practice in the English
> Department at Harvard University and a member of MetaLab @ Harvard. She
> received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in ethnic studies with a designated
> emphasis in new media studies. She is an Assistant Professor in the
> Department of Media Study at SUNY Buffalo and co-leads Palah 파랗 Light
> Studios, a creative space for poetry, participation, and pedagogy through
> technology.
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Associate Professor
> Director of Undergraduate Studies
> Department of Art
> Tjaden Hall 306
> rferro at cornell.edu
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu


Margaret Rhee, Ph.D.

College Fellow in Digital Practice (2018 - 2019)
Department of English
Harvard University

Assistant Professor in Media Theory (2019)
Department of Media Study
SUNY Buffalo
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